Voices of the Ozarks – Joan Whitener

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My name is Joan Whitener. I was born in Flat River Missouri, September 6, 1935, I’m 83, soon I’ll be 84.

When mother and dad were married they lived with my mother’s mother who had lost her husband for awhile. She went to Jr. College for awhile and her brothers were int he service. Then my mother and dad moved to Fredericktown with his mother and dad. I was only 18 months old when we moved to Fredericktown so I have no memories of this time. But during that time they lived with dad’s parents, Eli Minor and Mary Burdella Minor, she was a LaPlant. When I was 6 I remember grandpa Eli and my dad and his brothers that were home at the time built our house on some land that grandpa Eli gave us and it was right next door, across the little field. My parents names were Claude and Glendora Minor. Mother was a Dudley from Flat River and she was a school teacher. And my dad was a farmer and a chicken rancher for awhile. And then he was a foreman in the shoe fitting department at Spalsbury, Steis and Deevers Shoe Company which was the precursor to Brown Shoe. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Billy Ray Starkey and Rory Starkey

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Billy Ray:  My name is Billy Ray Starkey. I was born in Marquand, MO 2-18-1946. I was born near the Castor River in a house near Green Hollow. I think it was the last existing house there at that time. I’m here with my son Rory

Rory: I was born April 9, 1971 in Cape Girardeau.    

Billy Ray shares that his parents did not own their farm. He thinks the house was torn down in the mid 1970s or 80s. He lived in Marquand most of his life and went to school there at Piney Union which was a one room schoolhouse. There were no busses so they walked. Later he went to the school in Marquand. He mentions that his dad had worked with he WPA program and that they had used teams and wagons to haul rocks for the gymnasium for the school. It still stands today. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Howard Royer

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My name is Howard Kenneth Royer.  I was born in October 3, 1929 in Silvermines Missouri. My parents are Audrey Jewel Means and Harmon Howard Royer.

I remember the Depression and how hard it was and I remember how my parents started out on the farm. My grandfather owned the farm and my parents lived there.

Dad grew corn, wheat, oats and barley. He used a team of horses to farm and he owned cattle as well.

In his family he was the oldest. Roy was the second, Shirley was the third, Charles was the fourth. He notes that his parents took a break with kids for awhile but then had Lee Gale, Paul Dean (they called him Buck), Louis who was named after his grandfather, and the last was Linda.

5:00

Howard shares some of his memories of life on the farm. He says his father kept bees and he once got stung because he poked them with a stick. His uncle and dad farmed together and he remembers that at a very early age he wanted to go with them and work in the fields with them which he did. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Bill Osborne

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My name is Bill Osborne.  I was born March of 1948 here in Fredericktown in a home on Franklin Street where I was born and raised. My parents are Rosina Kessler Osborne and Buddy J.E. Osborne.

My earliest memories were going fishing with my father and my cocker spaniel puppy dog got out in the water. Papa assured me she wouldn’t drown. That was at the Little St. Francis River down by Saltpeter cave just up from the new bridge. Papa drove a stock truck and knew all the farmers, roads and places to fish and hunt. I was probably four or five at that time. My father passed away when I was just six or seven and that was also a vivid memory.

I always admired my mother because she had 3 kids to raise, ranging in age from me, I was the youngest to my sister who was the oldest. My brother had spinal  meningitis when he was 3 months old. It was prevalent during that time and similar to polio. The girl next door to us had it though she had a better recovery and could walk and talk. My brother survived but couldn’t walk or talk. read more